Open access (43) Myth 1: Open access journals have a less rigorous approach to quality control and peer review than subscription journals (2)

10 August, 2019

It is clear that there is a persistent (mis)perception among many, including academic institutions and individual researchers, that open-access journals have a less rigorous approach to quality control and peer review.

What is missing from our background paper ( and our discussion is evidence that demonstrates parity of quality of OA as compared with subscription-based journals.

I would be grateful if HIFA members can share any papers or evaluations on this subject, which might be used to rebuff misperceptions and discrimination.

I did a quickGoogle search and found this paper. Ironically the paper is not open access, but the author has self-archived the paper on ResearchGate:

Status and quality of open access journals in Scopus

Mohammadamin Erfanmanesh

Publication date: 2 October 2017


Purpose: This study aims to provide an extensive overview of OA journals’ status and quality in 27 research areas based on all Scopus-indexed journals. It shows the volume of OA journals, proportion of publications in OA journals and the quality of these journals in comparison with subscription-based counterparts.

Design/methodology/approach: This research investigated 22,256 active peer-reviewed journals indexed by Scopus in 2015. Data were gathered using the Journal Metrics website. The current research adopted four indicators to compare the quality of OA and non-OA journals indexed in Scopus under each subject area, namely citedness rate, CiteScore, SNIP and SJR.

Findings: OA journals comprised approximately 17 per cent out of the total journals indexed by Scopus in 2015. The results revealed an uneven spread of OA journals across disciplines, ranged from 5.5 to 28.7 per cent. Studying the quality of journals as measured by CiteScore, SJR SNIP leads us to the finding that, in all research areas, except for health profession and nursing, non-OA journals attain statistically significant higher average quality than do OA journals.

Originality/value: Although OA publishing improves the visibility of scholarly journals, this increase is not always coupled with increase in journals’ impact and quality.


The implication is that there is a problem of quality among health professional and nursing OA journals. It would be interesting to know more about the possible reasons for this. I have invited the author to join us.

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: